This week, the fellows have jumped to the West Coast to attend the 2016 StartUp Grind Global Conference. It’s two days jam-packed with incredible speakers and pitches who are asking really complex questions and trying to solve really big problems. We’re hearing from founders, CEO’s, and investors alike—which means there’s so much to soak up! Today, Jake and Amanda are sharing their favorite speakers from Day One!
Jake says: “Guy Kawasaki was one of the first speakers at the StartUp Grind conference in San Francisco and he shared his list of the ten most common mistakes an entrepreneur makes with the audience. Candid and witty, his list bypassed a lot of the fluff around what it means to be an entrepreneur. He was clear that the core of entrepreneurship is sales and the financial relationship that a founder has with his investors is very important. Although his diagnosis of the industry was blunt it also highlighted some very interesting areas in which he felt entrepreneurs had room to improve. He felt that pitches were too long and too concerned with irrelevant personal background, that financial models were built from ideal models instead of realistic models and that patents were too often tied to defensibility when the true source of defensibility truly came from success. Here is the rest of Guy Kawasaki’s 10 most common mistakes entrepreneurs make:
Multiplying big numbers by 1 % (aka if we even get 1% of the people in China to use this we will be billionaires
Scaling too fast. Instead “eat what you kill” and focus on what you can actually control.
Focusing on partnerships. Instead focus on sales.
Focusing on the pitch. Instead focus on getting positive data.
Too many slides in the pitch. Pitches should be 10 slides long, have a 20 minute presentation and have size 30 font
Proceed serially. Instead proceed parallel-y.
Believing you can retain control. With success you (at least slowly) lose control.
Using patents for defensibility. Instead know that only success can truly make you defensible.
Hire like yourself. Instead hire complementary.
Befriend your investors. Instead understand that your relationship is founded on results, and treat is as such.”
Amanda says: “While the highlight of the morning was definitely Guy Kawasaki, the Lady Rockstars showed up in full force during the afternoon. To kick things off was a keynote from Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, the founder and CEO of Joyous and founder of theBoardlist. Sukhinder’s talk, “From Founder to CEO: How to Scale Yourself & Your Team,” addressed the process of growing and changing from the role of founder into the role of CEO. Sukhinder focused on the idea that the journey is not linear—that there will always be moments for the founder hat, moments for the CEO hat, and moments for both at the same time. Like Guy, Sukhinder offered a list of things to keep in mind at all times:
Know your trademark strength. Why? Because you’re about to build a business around it. That and your weaknesses, so you better be aware of both of them.
Always be recruiting. You’re going to need the right people at the right time, and you are your brand’s best evangelist.
You manage me or I manage you. As a founder/CEO, your best bet is to build a team that can manage you rather than a team that you must manage all the time. It’s just better for everyone.
Know your energy gains vs. your energy drains. Whether it’s a specific team member or a specific task, develop some self-awareness around what gives you energy vs. what saps it. Accommodate accordingly.
Heads up vs. heads down. Your job as founder/CEO is to know when to have your eyes on the horizon and when to roll up your sleeves and jump down into the trenches.
Find your priest; claim your religion. Know who to turn to (have someone other than your co-founder or significant other). And, perhaps more importantly, know who you are and who you’re not.
Drafting is key. As founder/CEO you’ve got to be out front, but you have to build and train a team who’s going to be right on your heel the whole way. Otherwise, it gets pretty lonely out front.